The Sunday Independent - - SPORT - Aus­tralia and South Africa’s open­ing ODI in Perth starts at 5:20am, with cov­er­age on Su­pers­port 2.

AUS­TRALIA found sym­pa­thy over the Sand­pa­per saga from the very foes they tried to cheat against.

South African cap­tain Fat Du Plessis re­called that he had sent a mes­sage to shamed David Warner and Steve Smith. Even now, the saga still grum­bles across Aus­tralia. It is over half a year since that dark day for cricket, and Aus­tralia’s in­quest con­tin­ues.

Of course, South Africa had to be the guests in the week that their re­port on the whole mat­ter came out. And so, the vol­cano is poked again, pos­si­bly to erupt in an­other vi­o­lent flow of heated words.

“There was a mes­sage to both, to sym­pa­thise with the two of them.

But noth­ing since then,” Du Plessis elab­o­rated.

“I’m feel­ing for you, I know it is a tough time you are go­ing through. No one should go through some­thing like this. Just stay strong, and you will come through this a stronger char­ac­ter,” were the words Du Plessis re­called say­ing at the time.

Cricket suf­fers as a whole when it is thrown into con­tro­versy, be­cause the stain stretches to all parts of the cricket world. The sus­pi­cions hover over every player, like a tor­tur­ous who­dun­nit mys­tery.

So when Du Plessis reached out, it was in­stinc­tive, how­ever the mes­sage may have been re­ceived on the other side.

He still feels for the loss from a crick­et­ing per­spec­tive, though he knows bet­ter than to think that the next three matches will be a walk in the out­back.

“They have lost two good play­ers, and if you take any side, and take out two ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers, it can’t be a case of just rock­ing up in in­ter­na­tional cricket and dom­i­nat­ing,” he ex­plained.

“We have lost two bowlers at cer­tain stages in our bowl­ing line-up, and all of a sud­den it feels like you are strug­gling to get wick­ets,” he con­tin­ued.

“It is dif­fi­cult to re­place the two big play­ers that they have lost, but there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for guys to push their names to­wards World Cup se­lec­tion. It’s a nice prob­lem to have,” he added.

Quite what they will get from the new, con­trite Aussies re­mains to be seen, but the tourists don’t an­tic­i­pate a re­lease of play­ing in­ten­sity.

“There al­ways will be that com­pet­i­tive juice flow­ing, but I feel that this se­ries will be toned down from an Aus­tralian side, from a ver­bal point of view,” the Proteas leader opined.

It will make for a dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere, be­cause every South African crick­eter has faced Aus­tralian bowlers with an ac­com­pa­ny­ing choir around them.

“That was the way I got used to play­ing against Aus­tralia. There will still be the good bat­tles on the cricket field, but prob­a­bly a bit less of the ver­bal stuff.” - Lun­gani Zama

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